The trend of illustrating letters – another way to make an impact with words
When was the last time you wrote by hand?
Maybe it’s been a while since you wrote something more advanced than a quick note on a post-it note. It’s no news that most things visual, look digital today, and you have probably noticed that art and creation have also begun to move more towards computers and screens. In parallel with digitalisation, however, other trends that focus more on the handmade, seem to be emerging simultaneosly. The art form letters is based on the handwritten word and has only increased in popularity in recent years.
What is lettering and how does it differ from the more classical art form of calligraphy?
Lettering artist Jessica Hische describes it as “lettering is drawing, calligraphy is writing”. Lettering is thus the art of painting or drawing letters, while calligraphy is more about writing beautifully. A calligrapher has often spent a long time developing her/his/their writing to such a level that they don’t keep the many attempts for a handwritten sentence to be perfect. Often using a more technical technique or a writing manuscript. In lettering, you have a greater space to try out and combine different expressions. It is common to vary the degree, style and color of the words, and the letter artist often makes one or more sketches to see if the different components fit together.
The pencil and the eraser are therefore important for you to get the result you want. To be able to start illustrating letters and words, you really only need these two tools and one single piece of paper. In addition, there are several different pens and tools you can use to take your art to the next level, such as fineliners, flat-tip pencils, rulers and dotted blocks. Something many people open their eyes to when they start creating with lettering is the brush pen. The art of writing with a brush originates from China, and it is widely used there to this day. Many brush pens still today come from this part of Asia. The brush pen has a tip of felt or hair and when writing you adjust the pressure with the tip against the paper to get either thick or thin lines. The first, often in both calligraphy and letters.
The reason why lettering as a phenomenon has become so popular, probably doesn’t have one single answer.
Maybe, as previously mentioned, it can have to do somewhat with the backlash against the digital society. Here, creating with your hands can become a relaxing activity where you focus on one concrete thing only. Another aspect is that lettering is accesible, as it does not require a ton of know-how to get started. Typing with a pen is stimulating and stored in the muscle memory, despite the fact that today type most things on their keyboards.
In addition, the person expressing through lettering does not necessarily have to reinvent the wheel – the base is already there; a word or a quote, and you as the creator are free to do whatever you want with it.
The written word itself is central to the art form of lettering, and the message you want to convey with your art therefore becomes clear.
It will moreover be easy to reinforce the message or put the emphasis exactly where you want it. For example by using a font that matches the feel of the text or make the central parts stand out by enlarging the word or color it in bolder colors. The message or tone you want to convey can be anything from – comfort and joy to a more informative or political tone. Lettering artists have recently used their art and channels to draw attention to world events. Some, taking a stand for the Black Life Matter-movement, for instance, by writing down the names of people who have died of police brutality or made art out of state announcements to wash hands and stay home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Words matter, and by making art out of your own words or the words of others, they can come to life.
Find out more about lettering and get your tools to start, at https://www.penstore.se.